McGregor fancied to end Nurmagomedov’s unbeaten record
Conor McGregor makes his eagerly-awaited return to the UFC on October 6 with a blockbuster clash against unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The match-up has been billed as the biggest fight in MMA history, with UFC boss Dana White confident that the contest will crack the two million pay-per-view barrier.
Bookmakers have installed Nurmagomedov (26-0) as the marginal favourite to retain his lightweight title, although there are plenty of reasons to believe that McGregor (21-3) will upset the odds in Las Vegas.
The Russian star is undoubtedly at the top of his game, but he is yet to face anyone with the quality McGregor possesses.
His striking ability has already worked to great effect against Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez and Nate Diaz, and his gift for attacking from different angles could unsettle Nurmagomedov.
The reigning champion will look to take the fight to the mat, but that could play into McGregor’s hands as he utilises his reach advantage to keep his opponent at bay.
The Irishman will certainly need to be quick on his feet, striking quickly from mid and long-range, before moving in for the finish.
Nurmagomedov’s best hope of success will be to take the fight to the later stages, particularly with McGregor having been absent from the UFC for almost two years.
Victories over the last couple of years against Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson have highlighted Nurmagomedov’s destructive nature, but whether he can dominate McGregor in the same way is open for debate.
In 10 UFC fights, Nurmagomedov has won by strikes just twice, and the way he exposes his chin is a recipe for disaster against a fighter like McGregor.
Main event: Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs Conor McGregor (five rounds for lightweight title)
Co-main event: Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis (lightweight)
Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes (light heavyweight)
Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov (heavyweight)
Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig (women’s strawweight)
Featured prelim: Sean O’Malley vs Jose Alberto Quinonez (featherweight)
Sergio Pettis vs Jussier Formiga (flyweight)
Scott Holtzman vs Alan Patrick (lightweight)
Ryan LaFlare vs Tony Martin (welterweight)
Lina Lansberg vs Yana Kunitskaya (women’s bantamweight)
Gray Maynard vs Nik Lentz (lightweight)